How to Make Lapsang Souchong Properly

5 from 1 vote

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If you love robust black teas or smoky flavors this is the tea for you. Hot or cold, lapsang souchong tastes just like a fall campfire.

Lapsang souchong hot tea in a glass teapot with tea leaves.

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What is Lapsang Souchong Tea?

  • Lapsang souchong is a black tea with a distinct smoky flavor.
  • This tea is also known as smoked tea.
  • The smoky flavor comes from pine needles that are burned during processing so that the tea absorbs the smoke as it dries.
  • The strong flavor is an acquired taste so you either love it or hate it. 
  • Originated in Wuyi mountain in Fujian, China.
  • Some consider lapsang souchong the earliest black tea ever.

Get brewing guides for other black teas like Ceylon, Assam, and English Breakfast.

What You’ll Need



My Lapsang Souchong Tea Pick:

Lapsang Souchong

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A unique black tea that has a smoked, pine aroma and flavor.

How to Make Hot Lapsang Souchong Tea Properly

Hot lapsang souchong tea in a glass mug.

STEP 1: Boil water. 

It’s best to boil filtered water. Try not to use tap water since your tea will only taste as good as the water it’s brewed in.

You want the water set to 208°F, or just under a full boil. For accuracy, I like to boil water using an electric kettle with a temperature setting.

Always boil extra water to use for warming up the teapot. 

STEP 2: Warm up teapot. 

Swirl a bit of the boiled water around in a teapot. Once the teapot is warm to the touch, throw the water out.

Warming up the teapot prevents any big temperature drops while the tea is brewing. 

STEP 3: Put lapsang souchong tea into teapot and add hot water.

STEP 4: Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes. 

Keep the teapot covered while it steeps so the water stays hot.

STEP 5: Strain lapsang souchong leaves and pour hot tea into a teacup.

RELATED: Top 10 Tea Sommelier Tips

How to Make Iced Lapsang Souchong Tea Properly

Iced lapsang souchong black tea in a glass.

The best way to make iced lapsang souchong is by cold brewing it. Roasted and smoked teas always make for refreshing iced tea. 

STEP 1: Put lapsang souchong tea and cool or room temperature water in a pitcher or glass container. 

Use filtered water — it makes the best tasting cold brewed tea. 

STEP 2: Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours. 

STEP 3: Strain lapsang souchong tea leaves and pour tea into cup with ice.

Cold brewed tea is already chilled, so there’s no need to add ice unless you prefer it that way. 

RELATED: Bacon & Lapsang Souchong Cookies

Serving Suggestions

I drink hot and iced lapsang souchong without anything else added, which is the traditional way of drinking it.

If you want to add a little something extra, try adding a slice of lemon, honey, or vanilla enhances the smokiness.

To sweeten your cold brew, use simple syrup since it incorporates the best. 

Simple syrup is easy to make at home by mixing equal parts sugar and hot water until the sugar dissolves.

Notes & Tips

  • Some of lower quality versions of this tea are actually flavored instead of actually smoked. Ask the tea seller how the tea was made.
  • A great black tea for making cocktails or to use in recipes due to its unique smoky flavor.
  • The great thing about cold brew tea is that it doesn’t get cloudy.

Storage Tips

Brewed tea can be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container (glass is best) for up to 4 days.

Tea leaves, sachets, and tea bags should be kept in an airtight container away from light, odor, humidity, and heat.

RELATED: How to Store Tea Properly

Questions You May Have

What does lapsang souchong tea taste like?

This is a dark infusion with a bold, earthy flavor and a strong smoky aroma. It’s definitely not for everyone, but people who like it love it!

Is there caffeine?

Yes. There is caffeine in lapsang souchong, but since it’s smoked there’s less caffeine than in other black teas.

Loose tea, tea sachets, or tea bags?

Loose tea is your best bet for good quality lapsang souchong. If you can’t get your hands on any, tea sachets are a good choice because the sachet has space for the leaves to unfurl. You can buy tea bags if you want, but they are always the lowest quality tea and you lose out on layers of flavor.

Is lapsang souchong tea a real tea?

Yes, lapsang souchong is a real tea because it’s a black tea, which comes from the camellia sinensis plant.

More Brewing Guides

5 from 1 vote

Lapsang Souchong Tea

By: Jee Choe
A smoky, pine flavor tea that’s great hot or iced.
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Servings: 1 serving



  • Boil water.
    If using an electric kettle with temperature setting, set it to 208°F. Heat a little more water than needed so that it can be used to warm up the teapot. (Filtered water is best.)
  • Warm up teapot.
    Pour some hot water into the teapot and swirl it around a bit. Discard the water.
  • Put lapsang souchong tea into teapot and add hot water.
  • Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.
  • Strain lapsang souchong tea leaves and pour hot tea into a teacup.


1. Put lapsang souchong loose tea and cool or room temperature water in a pitcher or glass container. 
Use filtered water if possible for a better tasting tea.
2. Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
3. Strain tea leaves and pour tea into a cup with ice.
Ice is optional since the tea is already cold.

Hot Lapsang Souchong Tea Brewing Guide
  • TEA: 1 ½ teaspoons loose lapsang souchong or 1 tea sachet
  • WATER: 1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
  • STEEP TIME: 5 minutes
Cold Brew Iced Lapsang Souchong Tea Brewing Guide
  • TEA: 1 ½ teaspoons loose lapsang souchong or 1 tea sachet
  • WATER: 1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
  • STEEP TIME: 12 hours

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Chinese
Tried this recipe?Mention @ohhowcivilized or tag #ohhowcivilized!

About Jee Choe

Welcome! I'm a certified Tea Sommelier and a self-proclaimed bubble tea and iced tea master. I'm all about making tea EASY and DELICIOUS.

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